Inviting Nominations for V Venkayya Epigraphy Award 2024


V Venkayya Epigraphy Award

Smt Sunitha Madhavan and Tamil Heritage Trust are proud and happy to call for nominations for the Third V Venkayya Epigraphy Award, 2024. The annual award, one of its kind, was instituted in 2022, in the memory of Rai Bahadur Shri V Venkayya, a pioneering Epigrapher who became the first Indian Chief Epigraphist to the Government of India. 

The award was instituted by the great-granddaughter of Shri V Venkayya, Smt. Sunitha Madhavan, who published his biography in 2021, with the encouragement of (Late) Shri R Nagaswamy.

The V Venkayya Epigraphy Award (VVE Award) aims to recognize exceptional individual contributions towards the discovery of unrecorded inscriptions, interpretation of inscriptions from a refreshingly new perspective, dissemination of wealth of knowledge contained in them by conventional as well as digital medium and preservation of Epigraphic resources for posterity.  

By rewarding outstanding work in this area, the Award aspires to encourage interest and involvement of all the stakeholders including the general public in Indian Heritage and Epigraphy in particular, thereby raising the awareness and appreciation of history, literature, arts and culture which deserve our attention and care.

The award aims to recognize and reward the efforts and achievements of individuals. Thus, collective enterprises like societies, trusts, Section 8 companies and other interest groups will not be eligible for the award.  The nominees can be both professionals in the field of epigraphy or independent researchers or enthusiasts who have a substantial corpus of work in furthering epigraphy in India.  The Award is based on a nomination and selection process. The Award consists of a citation and a prize of Rs.20000/- 

V Venkayya Epigraphy Award Winners – 2022 & 2023 

Dr. Y Subbarayalu, one of India’s eminent Epigraphers and Historians was the recipient of the inaugural V Venkayya Epigraphy Award in 2022. Dr Y Subbarayalu has held several academic positions in institutions like Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai, Tamil University, Thanjavur etc., He also served as a Visiting Professor at the University of Tokyo and EPHE, Paris. He was a researcher in the Department of Indology for more than a decade at the French Institute of Pondicherry.

He has authored, co-authored, and edited many books, publications and articles. To name a few - authored South India under Cholas; Glossary of Tamil Inscriptions; along with Noboru Karashima and Toru Matsui A Concordance of the Names in the Chola Inscriptions; edited South Indian Inscriptions, Vol. XXXIV, Archaeological Survey of India; co-edited with S Rajavelu Inscriptions of the Vijayanagara Rulers, Vol. V, part I (Tamil Inscriptions)

Dr P V Krishnamurthy (Dr PVK) one of the foremost Kannada Epigraphers was the recipient of the second V Venkayya Epigraphy Award in 2023. An Engineer in Hindustan Aeronautics Limited he earned his D. Litt(PhD) in the year 2000 from Kannada University, Hampi for his study on the inscriptions of Bana Kings. He has been teaching Epigraphy & Manuscriptology under the aegis of Kannada Sahitya Parishat, IGNCA, Bangalore, B.M. Sri. Pratishtana etc., Many Epigraphists and enthusiasts, young and old alike consider Dr. PVK as their guide and mentor.

Dr PVK has authored several books on various subjects such as  Epigraphy, History, Travelogue etc., Some of his well-known books are Baanarasara Shaasanagalu ondu Adhyayana (A Study of Bana Dynasty Inscriptions), Tamilunadina Kannada Shasanagalu (Kannada Inscriptions of Tamilnadu). He has edited 19 volumes of Itihasa Darshana, which are the proceedings of the Seminar and Research Papers, for the Karnataka Itihasa Academy. He has written more than 170 articles/papers in different research Journals, Felicitation, Commemoration, and in Encyclopedia Vols. etc.

About Rai Bahadur V Venkayya 

(Rai Bahadur) Shri V. Venkayya, born in 1864 in the lineage of the illustrious scholar Appaya Dikshita of the 16th century, was one of the pioneering epigraphists of India. His contribution to understanding the inscriptions of Pallavas, starting with Mamallapuram and Cholas with Brahadeeswara Temple, broke new ground in the field of Epigraphy in India. He also deciphered the writing (legends) on coins. 

A chance meeting with Dr. E. Hultzsch, the famous German Indologist and ASI’s first Chief Epigraphist, at Mamallapuram, turned the obscure school teacher into an expert in epigraphy, who eventually became the first Indian Chief Epigraphist to the Government of India.  His stellar effort in unravelling, recording and deciphering hundreds of lithic and copper-plate inscriptions of Pallavas, Cholas, Pandyas and others through publications like “South Indian Inscriptions” inspired many epigraphists and historians to record, reconstruct and write the history of South India in a new light with clarity and scholarship. 

The ultimate tribute to Shri V Venkayya came from John H. Marshall, Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India from 1902 to 1928. ‘From first to last, his life in the Archaeological Department was one of assiduous labour and devotion to duty and his work throughout was characterized by sound scholarship.’

Nomination Process

  1. Any individual can nominate any other individual whom they believe has done noteworthy work in the area of Epigraphy
  2. Individuals can also nominate themselves. 
  3. An individual can send only one nomination. 
  4. Nominations received in the years 2022 & 2023 but not considered for the Award in the years 2022 & 2023 will be automatically considered this year. Those nominated in the years 2022 & 2023 need not be nominated again.
  5. The nominee must be a citizen of India and ordinarily resident in India. 
  6. Nominations must be sent by email to to reach us before June 9, 2024. 
  7. There is no Nomination Form 
  8. A Nomination must consist of the following:
    • a. Personal Details: Full Name, Full Address, Mobile Number, Email id, Scanned Passport size Photograph, Brief biodata of the Nominee 
    • b. Details of Contribution to Epigraphy: Details of actual work done by the nominee, with particular emphasis on work in the past ten years.  The details may be sent in any one of the following formats:  MS Word, MS PowerPoint or PDF.
    • c. Supporting Documentation: Documentary evidence of the work done by the nominee could include copies of papers submitted, articles written in journals, newspapers or magazines, links to any websites or blogs run by the nominee, lists of talks given, courses conducted, links to social media presence etc.
  9. Nominations and accompanying details are to be in English only. 

Selection of Winner

A jury comprising experts from the field of Epigraphy, History and Heritage and members of the THT Award Committee will select the winner.   As a part of the selection process, the members of the jury may choose to have an interaction with the nominee in person or over the phone. 

Award Ceremony & Award Lecture

The V Venkayya Epigraphy Award will be presented at a formal ceremony on July 27, 2024 (Saturday) in Chennai. 

The Winner will be invited to present the Award Lecture at the Ceremony. The Winner may choose a topic of her/his choice and will be required to submit the lecture manuscript for publication at least a week before the ceremony. The Award Lecture should preferably be in English.  


Am I eligible to enter?

We welcome Nominations from any individual who is a citizen of India and is ordinarily resident in India.  Organisations and institutions – like Societies, Trusts, Interest Groups etc – are not eligible.

Nominations that were not considered for the award in the years 2022 & 2023 need not be sent again this year. Those nominations will be automatically considered for the award this year 


What is the Last Date for Nomination?

The last date for the Nomination to reach THT is June 9, 2024. 

What are the criteria for selection?

The judges will look for, among other qualities and parameters:

    • New epigraphical discoveries or insights
    • Thoroughness of knowledge in the chosen area
    • Scholarly rigour in the individual’s output
    • Demonstrable eagerness to share with the public and involve them in a dialogue
    • Consistency and persistence of the effort 

In what language should the Nomination be submitted? 

Nominations can be sent in English only. 

Is there an Entry Fee? 

No, there is no fee involved. 

When will the winner be announced?

The winner will be announced shortly before the Award Ceremony and the Award Lecture.


When and where is the Awards Ceremony?

The Ceremony will take place on July 27, 2024, at Arkay Convention Centre, Chennai. The time will be announced later. 

Is it necessary for the Winner to deliver the Award Lecture?

Yes, the Winner will be expected to deliver the Award Lecture at the Ceremony, in English, on a topic of her/his choice. 

Terms + Conditions of Entry

The Award will be made solely at the discretion of the Jury. No feedback or correspondence will be entered into about the results and the Jury’s decision is final.

For any clarifications, please contact us at:
Phone: Ravishankar: 95000 74247 (

Deconstructing the Bas Reliefs of Angkor Wat. By S Vijay Kumar. May 4,2024

Scholars have described in detail the themes of the 13,000-odd sq feet of the larger reliefs and yet most visitors merely walk right past these magnificent reliefs after a quick mandatory selfie. Most are not aware of the smaller and more fascinating wall reliefs which are a testament to the skill and scholarship of the Khmer artists. For instance, the south-west and north-west pavilions contain representations of some rare episodes like the depiction of the abduction of Sita (not by Ravana), revelation of Krishna and Balarama's cosmic form to a charioteer (not to Arjuna), Khmer representation of Gatotkacha and many more images whose interpretations are still open for study and debate. Join S Vijay Kumar, Founder, India Pride Project for his talk "Deconstructing the Bas Reliefs of Angkor Wat", as he takes us on a walk around these marvelous masterpieces that the twelfth century Khmer emperor Suryavarman II had caused to be sculpted, depicting the puranas and itihasas from a far away India. Speaker: S Vijay Kumar, Founder, India Pride Project is a largely self-taught expert on Indian Temple sculpture and art. He started documenting his learning process in Tamil and English on a bilingual blogsite – – writing extensively on sculpture and art appreciation, introducing audiences to the nuances of our temple art. The site, with more than 300 posts, is non-commercial. He and his team of dedicated volunteers aim to document and build an online searchable archive of temple art on the internet. For the past sixteen years, Vijay has been instrumental in the tracking of trafficked Indian artefacts, working closely with various pan-global organisations assisting in their restitution efforts – including the return of the Vriddachalam Ardhanari, Sripurathan Nataraja, the Toledo Ganesha, the Ball state museum Alingana Murthy, the Kushan Buddha from the National Gallery of Australia, the Sripuranthan Uma from ACM Singapore, the Brahma Brahmani from Patan recovered from London. His background work led to several raids conducted by Home Land Security USA during the Asia week in NYC. He played a key role in uncovering the antiquities smuggling network of Subhash Kapoor and the USD 108 million seizure of 2622 objects in America, which is chronicled in his non-fiction book “The Idol Thief” published by Juggernaut Books. Vijay is a regular speaker and columnist for The Hindu, Times of India and other dailies. He also conducts free workshops to schools and colleges to encourage the next generation to take up an interest in Indian art.